#TheMakingOf is where producers, engineers and mixers lift the lid on their processes by dissecting past projects, revealing the secrets behind the stems.
Nashville-based producer, engineer and music production advocate Jeff Balding (Eagles, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift) reveals how he approached opening up the stems for the immersive mix of Blake Shelton’s triple platinum-certified hit ‘Boys ‘Round Here’.
As well as being behind the boards on many Grammy-nominated projects, Jeff is a proud member of METAlliance and a key figure on the National Steering Committee for the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy, where Jeff dedicates a lot of time to establishing best practices for music creation, as well as leading on advocacy, educational and technical initiatives. Now frequently mixing in Dolby Atmos (and streaming his mixes to clients with Audiomovers), he harnesses cutting-edge technology to bridge the gap between fans and the songs they love.
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A movement isn’t necessarily theatrical going, you know, over your head, it’s something that’s adding to the groove, so it’s making you bob your head more than you would on the stereo mix.
I was working on Blake Shelton, Boys ‘Round Here doing the immersive version of that single. That production to that song actually had a lot of great elements for an immersive mix. I was able to cut some of the hook, redneck, redneck hook stuff up and put that in different speakers. So it’s bouncing around.
There’s a lot of other elements that I could move around in the room, and the whole idea of we wanted, with that immersive mix, working with Scott Hendricks on it, was to make sure it’s. It not only kept the song intact, but it had an entertainment value to it. It was entertaining to listen to, and that’s not necessarily flying stuff around, but that’s going, oh, where the sounds come out.
It moves you, it keeps your attention, but it doesn’t distract you from the vocal. We’ve worked hard on it to get that out of it. You know, finding elements and where to put ’em and being very specific and intentional. That song really turned out great. Not only do you hear more space around things, but you’re getting a movement that you can’t get any other way.